Fruit Garden, Orchard

Pecking Apples

apple harvest

The apple trees in the orchard are feeling the strain from the weight of fruit on their branches, I guess it’s time to stock the larder cupboard.

orchard

Armed with my ladder and apple crates, I’ve started to pick apples to use for cooking. And I had company. The hens enjoyed the sunshine and wandered off under the safety of the trees, the rescue girls stuck to me like glue as usual. However, they were great ‘quality control inspectors’, jumping in and out of the apple crates, pecking apples. They just have to be involved in everything I do, from harvesting fruit to sweeping leaves.

chicken orchard

apples

hen orchard

We have plenty of fruit from our orchard to make warm crumbles, delicious pies and tarts, thanks to a wonderful summer. Did your fruit trees produce plenty of fruit this year?

Fruit Garden

A Weekend of Planting Fruit Trees

 
This weekend we added 2 new trees to our mini orchard. We now have 3 different varieties of apple – Scrumptious, Bramley’s Seedling and Cox Orange Pippin, a Marjorie’s Seedling plum and a Williams’ Bon Chretien pear. Our Scrumptious and Cox produced good-sized fruit last season but the plum skipped fruiting altogether. However, it is now smothered in blossom so fingers crossed for plums this year.
 
All our trees are on a semi vigorous rootstock because we have the space, so I have been learning how to prune fruit trees paying attention to the way in which each of our chosen trees produce their fruit. For example, the Bramley’s Seedling is partial tip bearer, which means that most of the fruit is borne on the ends of the branches. For this reason it is wise not to throw caution to the wind while pruning, otherwise you may end up with no fruit for quite some time.
Fruit Garden, Harvest

Scrumptious Harvest

scrumptious apple harvest 2009

All our fruit and vegetable harvests have been pretty scrumptious to be honest, but this post is mainly about our Scrumptious apple harvest. This year was the first year of fruiting for our young Scrumptious tree and I’m very pleased with the quality and taste of the fruit. In all we managed to harvest 15 good size apples after a great deal of thinning to prevent the tree from trying to produce more. Also, like everyone else I imagine, the wasps got to some of the fruit.

The wasps have been a real pest this year due to the warm spring, we had a nest of them in a conifer tree and I received my first sting ever this year from a wasp. Ouch! I’m not ashamed to say it bl**dy well hurt too! Now they are becoming lethargic and seeking sugary energy, fruit trees and autumn fruiting bushes / canes are taking a battering. I spotted some hornets near our vegetable garden yesterday, oh dear. I know they are good pollinators but they do drive me potty.

Our other apple tree, a young Cox has also produced some lovely looking fruit, probably ready to harvest towards the end of next month. Provided the wasps leave them alone of course.

Fruit Garden

Thinning Apple Scrumptious

Apple Scrumptious

Our young apple Scrumptious tree produced more young fruit than we expected it to. This variety of apple are quite large and with the tree being very young, we felt the tree would benefit from being a little less top heavy.

To be honest, we assume the tree felt the same way as removing some of the young fruit was not hard to do at all. We left each fruiting branch with either 1, 2 or 3 young apples, depending on how strong the branch was. Got to say, very impressed with this young tree so far. Hope the taste of the fruit lives up to its name.

Fruit Garden

Apple Scrumptious

Apple 'Scrumptious'

We have been looking around for more apple trees to join our young Cox’s Orange Pippin. After some research we decided on Discovery, still debating on a few others.

Discovery was proving difficult to get on the rootstock that we wanted, so we had a chat with the fruit buyer at our local garden centre. He pointed out a tree that we had not heard of before. Scrumptious, a modern early variety. Its parentage includes Discovery, the fruit it produces are red which ticks the box for fruit colour that we wished for. As its name suggests, the fruit is said to excel on flavour. A self fertile tree with good disease resistance as well as  frost resistant blossom. We were told to expect some fruit this year from this young tree so we shall see how it does.

Fruit Garden

Fruit Trees For A Micro Orchard

apples

After a few days of researching endless varieties of apples and other tree fruit we have at last made a choice of two apple trees, for the time being anyway! We have so far chosen Cox’s Orange Pippin and Discovery. The Cox is self fertile so it does not require another tree to produce a crop, but it could produce a better crop with a pollinator nearby. Discovery on the other hand does need a pollinator, the Cox should fit the bill nicely as they are both in the same pollination group.

We are aware that Cox’s Orange Pippin is known to be temperamental, but because the flavour is so highly praised its got to be worth a try……besides Rich would sulk like a girl if a Cox did not make the final wish list. A variety of plum called Marjorie’s Seedling has also made it onto our wish list, a culinary and dessert plum of rich purple. We did think about a Victoria but decided we would prefer a purple plum instead – a personal preference of ours. We are still undecided about a pear tree but Conference looks like the most likely choice so far. It is a partially self fertile tree so we should really plant a suitable pollinator, but our neighbours garden (which exceeds half an acre) is planted with numerous plums and apples so we should get away with just the one tree. Well thats the plan anyway.

A large section of our garden which is particially overgrown at present (due to be cleared in spring) is where our micro orchard and large vegetable garden will finally reside. Cant wait!